For some reason I have always been a sucker for post-apocalyptic Armageddon’ish type movies, now let’s add some good ol’ western elements in there along with a pretty decent story and you’ve definitely got me hooked.
The Book of Eli isn’t just another Mad Max mimic, and really it isn’t like any other film of its same sub-genre. It makes a mark of its own. Don’t let the setting fool you, this film is a spaghetti-western at heart.
The Book of Eli takes place some 30 years after the apocalypse and stars Denzel Washington as the “Man With No Name”- a lone warrior fighting to bring what’s left of civilization the knowledge and understanding of something that has been lost. He carries a book that he believes will help change things back to the way they used to be. The book is probably exactly what you think it is, but just in case you’re not sure… I won’t spoil anything for you.
Through his journey west (where he is being lead via some divine higher power) he encounters villains and obstacles along the way. Eventually he finds himself in a sleazy town run by a man named Carnagie (Gary Oldman), a literate dictator searching for the same book which he possesses.
Carnagie and The Man With No Name’s interpretations and meanings of what the book stand for couldn’t be more different. The Man With No Name sees it as a way to fix what has become of a wasted America, where as Carnagie sees it as a tool of power that will only help progress the totalitarian regime which he is creating. The Book of Eli isn’t just another end of the world type movie without a plot and meaning, it’s a post-apocalyptic spaghetti western action adventure with a purpose. It BELIEVES… awww, those canny taglines.
So enough with the story, let’s not forget how much of a badass Denzel Washington really is. He paints the town red (literally with blood) in this movie. Nothing will get in the way of him and his faith, or his machete for that matter. Kinda reminds me a little of Jewels, his faith, along with the help of his nine millimeter at the end of Pulp Fiction. Anyways, this is the Hughes Brothers first movie to direct since 2001’s From Hell- another great movie, and hey they didn’t let us down in the least. They incorporate fast paced action scenes that don’t last any longer than they need to. None of those drug out Michael Bay 45 minute fight scenes. The Hughes Brothers somehow manage to make your adrenaline rush and get you to the edge of your seat before you even know what’s happening, then BAM it’s over with. Quick cuts are just fine with me, but they are so overdone sometimes. The Book of Eli relies more on quick fight sequences where you get to see just how badass Denzel can be in such a short amount of time. The film is more about the story (Hallelujah!) vs. the action or special effects- but there’s a really good mix of the both.
Watching this one you know that something unexpected has to happen at the end of the movie, and wa-la you’re right! The ending to this one will make you scratch your head and think, wow really? Also, it makes you wanna watch it again just to see who is smarter you or the film-makers, awww cleverly done guys.
Summing this up, I’m gonna have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It’s not another hopeless end of the world film; it’s a hopeful fight for redemption. It’s really unique and keeps you entertained, and that’s what movies are all about right? But hey, what do I know?